Copyright 2006 David Steele

In my work as a Marriage and Family Therapist most of my practice has been working with couples, because after experiencing divorce growing up as a child, and again after a ten year first marriage, I decided that my mission is to help people have successful marriages and families, and I thought the best way to do that would be as a marriage counselor. However, what I discovered over the years is that people generally make appointments with me when it's almost too late; they're on the verge of divorce or it might be a last resort, after there's been a lot of irreversible damage done.

How relationships work and how to have a successful Life Partnership have always been fascinating mysteries to me. One thing's for certain; times have changed and what used to work doesn't work anymore. The biggest change in the past 30 years impacting relationships that I can see is that we have developed a need to be "happy". This is a dramatic shift from our parents and grandparents who were quite satisfied surviving and achieving some measure of comfort and security. The need for happiness sounds very simple and innocent, but it's the primary reason for failed relationships today, and the high divorce rate, single parent families, mental and physical health problems, juvenile delinquency, welfare, and so on.

While we seek to be happy in relationships, we don't seem to know how. As a result I have seen many people make relationship choices and fall into traps that prevented them from getting what they want in their life, resulting in unhappiness and relationship failure. A trap is basically an unsolvable problem that results in unhappiness in a relationship. Getting out of the trap often means leaving the relationship.

When you're single you can do a lot more than you realize to avoid these traps and prepare for a successful and lasting relationship, as you'll see in this article.

1. Marketing Trap

Believing you need to make yourself more appealing to attract a partner and "selling" yourself with attractive packaging and presentation. High risk of disappointment and relationship failure as people discover that the excitement and promise of the "sizzle" conflicts with the reality of the "steak".

Solution: Authenticity. You will attract compatible people when you show them who you really are. At the risk of mixing metaphors, "Birds of a feather flock together", so don't try to look like a prize-winning chicken when you are your own breed of duck!

2. Scarcity Trap

Believing there is a limited supply of possible partners, so you have to take what you can get or be alone. Results in relationship failure when you settle for less and compromise your Requirements. A self-fulfilling prophecy when you get less because you expect less.

Solution: Define your first choice of what you really want and persevere. Trust that if you apply yourself you can get what you really want in your life. You must be able to say "No" to what you DON'T want, to be available to say "Yes" to what you DO want. You have the power to choose who, what , where, when, and how, and can get what you really want if you make effective choices aligned with your Vision and Requirements.

3. Compatibility Trap

Assuming that if you have fun together and get along well, you are compatible and a committed relationship will work. Results in relationship failure when discovering the vast difference between a fun-focused, recreational " dating" relationship, and a serious long-term committed relationship. Being so different, the process and criteria for choosing a recreational relationship needs to be very different from choosing a Life Partner.

Solution: When you are ready for a Life Partnership, define your Requirements and use them to scout, sort, and screen potential partners. Do not try to convert a recreational relationshipinto a committed one, unless 100% of your Requirements are met.

4. Fairytale Trap

Passively expecting your ideal partner to magically appear and live happily ever after without effort on your part. Believing that finding your soul mate will just "happen". Results in disappointment when the frogs that happen to jump into your life don't become princes.

Solution: Take personal responsibility for your relationship choices and outcomes. Have effective scouting, sorting, and screening strategies. Initiate contact and be the "Chooser", don't simply react to people that choose you.

5. Date-To-Mate Trap

Becoming an "instant couple" as if giving each person you date an extended test drive. Believing that if you develop an exclusive relationship with someone you are dating, a successful committed relationship will eventually happen. Other terms for this are "Serial Monogamy" and the "Mini-Marriage.. This approach is a costly use of time and emotional energy. The inertia in this trap is pressure to make the relationship work, attempt to solve unsolvable problems, and fit the round peg in the square hole because breaking up and being single again is an undesired outcome.

Solution: Date a variety of people and have fun without being exclusive. When you are ready for a committed relationship define your Requirements and use them as tools to scout, sort, and screen potential partners. Make a careful relationship choice and consciously use a "pre-commitment" period to determine if this is the right relationship for you.

6. Attraction Trap

Making relationship choices based on feelings of attraction. Interpreting a strong attraction to someone as a sign that the relationship is a good choice and "meant to be". This approach results in relationship failure when unsolvable problems surface because you ignored the red flags while infatuated. Unconscious choices usually result in repeating unproductive past patterns.

Solution: Balance your attractions by defining your Requirements and use them to scout, sort, and screen potential partners. "Choose your life's mate carefully. From this one decision will come ninety percent of your happiness or misery.(H. Jackson Brown, Jr. from "Life's Little Instruction Book").

With over 700 online dating sites in the United States alone and new sites cropping up weekly, it can be difficult to choose the right site totally free online dating site for you. The vast choices available can be overwhelming. Totally free online dating site comes a dime a dozen. Choosing a totally free online dating site could sometimes be confusing. Totally free online dating site lets you try the free dating services before making a financial commitment. Totally free online dating lets you try out some of the numerous dating sites in order to know which one offers the best opportunity for you to meet people.

There are innumerable advantages in using totally free online dating site on the Internet. First is the convenience. Totally free online dating site offers the world of dating at your fingertips. The freedom of totally free online dating site is that you can post a profile, browse members of a website and often receive emails at absolutely no cost. Some sites may require you to only pay the free online dating site when you want to write back to someone or initiate first contact. This means you never have to join a totally free online dating site that doesnt meet your own standards.

Many people use totally free online dating site upon the referral of friend. If some of your friends are successful in their online dating quest, you naturally want to try out the same site to see if lightning can strike twice in the same place. Others have a standard criteria for the free online dating site because they strongly associate themselves with a specific group such as Christian, Asian, gay, vegetarian, swingers name it and theres a probably a free online dating site for it.

Totally free online dating should allow you to have total control over the point at which you give out your personal email address or phone number. Find out if the totally free online dating site ever sells your information to telemarketers or allows members to access your personal information. Any breach of your privacy is grounds for choosing a new totally free online dating site. Some totally free online dating sites pose as dating sites but are in reality pornographic sites or are soliciting your personal information for profit. Be sure the totally free online dating site you join is legitimate and is truly in the business of bringing singles together.

If you are considering online dating, there are a few tips that can help make the experience a more enjoyable and successful one.

Online Dating Tip # 1
Find someone who shares your common interest, life goals and family preferences. It is important to share some of the same hopes in order for a relationship to be worthwhile.

Online Dating Tip # 2
Use caution when giving out personal information, including your full name, address or telephone number. At first, provide nothing more than an e-mail address.

Online Dating Tip # 3
During casual conversations, look for possible warning signs of control, jealousy or tempers.

Online Dating Tip # 4
If an individual seems to be extremely needy or needs to talk to you every minute, this may be a sign of possessive behavior and should be recognized early. If you notice this happening, move on and find another possible online dating match.

Online Dating Tip # 5
Dont be afraid to ask questions. Its perfectly normal to inquire about marital status, children, hopes, dreams, etc. If someone is uncomfortable with these questions, its a good indication they have something to hide.

Online Dating Tip # 6
Dont rush. Take the time to get to know someone before you decide that you are comfortable enough to meet them. A relationship takes time to build and there is no reason to rush into anything.

Online Dating Tip # 7
If you learn that someone hasnt been honest about his/her profile or other detail, end the dating potential immediately. Dishonesty is no way to begin a relationship and it makes you question anything else that he/she may be hiding.

Online Dating Tip # 8
With honesty in mind, it is important that you be honest in your profile and with anyone whom you are having an online dating relationship with. If and when the relationship is ready to move to the next level, it will be too late to correct anything that wasnt truthful and the chance of a relationship will likely be lost.

Online Dating Tip # 9
If you plan to meet someone in person, do so in a public place. Preferably, the meeting time would be early in the day or the afternoon. It is never a good idea to meet a perfect stranger at dark or in a secluded area.

Online Dating Tip # 10

Be yourself. Don't pretend to like something or be someone that you are not just to please the other person. If they are the right one for you, there will not be a reason to pretend. 

10 Tips Dating Advice For Men

Whether you're an experienced dater, just getting back into the single swing after the break-up of a long relationship, or somewhere in between, here is some dating advice for men that you should keep in mind.
1. Make a good impression. This starts with your personal hygiene. Get a hair cut if necessary and shave. You don't have to wear cologne (in fact some women don't like it) but you must be clean. Make sure you are wearing nice looking clothes that you feel comfortable in and that fit you well.

2. If you smoke, you want to seriously consider giving it up. If you can't, make all attempts to get rid of your smoker's breath and cough. Ironically enough, even women who smoke can't stand the smell of smoke on their man.

3. Listen more and talk less. Ask your date a lot of questions about herself and listen to the answers. Women love to chat and if you can remember things she's told you and bring them up later, you will impress her.

4. Try to keep up with current affairs that you can discuss in conversation - this is one of the best pieces of dating advice for men that is often overlooked.

5. Take some time to learn about manners and chivalry. Women want to be treated with respect. Hold the door open for your date. Don't use rude or vulgar language. It can also help to know how and what to eat in a fancy restaurant, and a little about fashion, jewelry and flowers.

6. Keep your sports lingo in check. Most guys love sports and that's fine. But it shouldn't be all you talk and think about, at least while you are with your date. Some women love sports too. But they don't tend to talk about it all the time as men can do. Many women interpret an obsession with sports talk as a total lack of thought, creativity or inspiration.

7. If you don't dance, you might want to consider learning how. Women love to dance and the benefit for you is that it puts you in close contact with each other. Dancing is considered romantic and sexy. Worse than being a terrible dancer is staying seated when your date wants to dance. You could even take lessons together.

8. Don't expect sex on the first date. Period.

9. Keep your career goals as one top priority. Most women want a man who has some ambition in life and even if they pretend to think your job isn't important, they do.

10. Taking your date for a drink every once in a while is fine but don't make it a habit to hang out at bars all the time.

These is just an introductory guide to the many aspects that are part of dating advice for men. Heed these and you will be off to a good start!

Dating can be tough but there are some things you can do to make it a little bit easier on both you and the woman you've asked on a date. These 10 dating tips for black men can help you next time you're on a date.

1. You have to remember that she is probably nervous too and may be unsure about what to do. Thinking of it this way can help set you at ease and make it more comfortable for you both.

2. Double-check your hygiene before you walk out the door. Make sure that you smell good, and that you have fresh breath. Wear a light, nice cologne. But don't overdo it on the scent.

3. This dating tip for men is something the guys often forget if they don't date very often. Check your fingernails. Be sure your hands look well groomed just like the rest of you because women tend to look at a guy's hands and judge him by how neat they are.

4. Another dating tip that can help a black man on a date, especially when it's your first date with a particular woman, is to check your shoes. Women tend to look at a man's hands and his feet for good grooming.

5. Do take charge a little bit on your date. It's all right to ask her what she wants to do or let her make the decisions, but don't appear too wishy-washy. If you have asked her on a date then this is your ballgame and you need to claim it and make sure you both have a good time.

6. Do offer to pay for the meal or whatever activity you're doing. Unless you agreed to go halves when you asked her on this date, then step up to the plate and pay for the date.

7. Plan ahead if cost could be an issue to make sure everything's easily affordable for you. There are nice restaurants that are more affordable than the fanciest ones in town. But avoid going super-cheap.

8. Some black men make the mistake when on a date of leaving all the conversational topics to the woman. Be prepared with something to talk about that is fairly neutral. As usual when meeting anyone new avoid topics like politics and religion. Stick to more neutral things like work, travel, movies, hobbies and topics of that nature.

9. Brush up on current events if you're not very knowledgeable about what's going on right now. This is always a good topic of conversation. The last big thing to be on the news is something most people can discuss at length pretty easily.

10. It's okay to admit that you're nervous when on a date. By letting her know you are a little bit nervous you're letting her know that you really like her and you want to make a good impression.

Remember these 10 dating tips for black men next time you're on a date and make it a success!

9 Regrets in Dating

Monday, January 29, 2018 | | 0 comments »

We all have committed mistakes in our dating lives or our relationships. Some we have lived to regret. Through some research here are the most common regrets of dating people or people in a relationship.

1. Most people regret not settling down with their childhood sweetheart or 1st love at college. They always believe that there will be more fish out there so why settle down? There might be more fish out there but do they actually fit your taste and personality. Compared to that proven fish that you have already established with your childhood sweetheart or 1st college love. Some people who didnt marry their childhood sweetheart will only think that they have settled for 2nd best only. This will be unfair to the other party, because you will always be thinking about that 1st love.

2. Dating people for the very wrong reasons always result in disasters. There might be some that could pull it off but it could be rare. Some people date for reasons of that person being physically attractive, business reasons, business contracts, sex or even just out of sympathy. We instead should date people who we seem to like because of their great personality or that being a match for us. A friend of mine tried to date a Muslim because she was pretty attractive, eventually things didnt work out because of cultural differences. If you know that you are entering a dating situation where things will really not work out, dont waste your time on it. There could be others out there while youre wasting your time on the wrong person.

3. People always regret not taking the offer of the date when the offer was there. People will always ask the what if question. Just imagine all the girls who turned down Bill Gates now. Bottom line give the person a chance, it wont hurt to have a sip of coffee for only 30 minutes. You might even find out you might click.

4. In our current society most 20 something people will put career ahead of their love life. This is not a bad thing though. But once you hit your 30s you will seem to lose something within you. You will become less attractive because of aging signs. Our body clocks will eventually catch up on us. Also most good catches will be fewer. Try to balance out your career and social life. Having a love life doesnt mean you need to get married and sacrifice your career. It might even inspire you to work harder. Its just how you view the situation.

5. Never date a married person. Dating a married person always guarantees disaster. This relationship will always be about deceit, lies and cheating. The unmarried party will also be led to expect something that could or might never happen; which is being in a serious relationship with the married person. It might also bother your conscience that you are destroying the life of the married couple. This relationship or dating period will never ever work out and be fun. It will always be filled with doubt.

6. Stupid regrets here, people leave the person they love. Dont know why. If you love the person why leave him or her? Often reasons for a person leaving his or her partner are due to infidelity. If things do eventually go broke it might be too late to go back. I mean if you love the person why be unfaithful? It might be tempting but its only a test of your relationship. Bottom-line, be faithful.

7. People also regret not ending a really bad relationship earlier. There might have been a time during the bad relationship that there was someone better who wouldve wanted to be with you. But because you were in that bad relationship you passed out on that other wonderful person. So if you think youre just not in the right situation have the courage to end it.

8. Dont be jackass in your relationship. People often regret that they could have been nicer to their partner. It will always haunt you when you treat your partner badly. How could our relationship have ended if I was nicer? Try to be courteous, remembering special dates (no matter how cheesy they are), kind, compromising, getting something special, being spontaneous. Dont be too late to change, because you might regret it.

9. Dont be callous when dumping a person. It definitely hurts and karma has a way of finding you.

A recent survey revealed that fifty two percent of men date for intimacy. Men are looking for that someone to get romantically involved with and a potential mate for life.

There are women that a man should avoid dating. Here are signs to watch out for:

1. The overly feminist. This type of woman assumes and believes man is the cause of all the pains and suffering of a society. It is her strong belief that women are much more intelligent than men and are capable of doing things the correct way.

Men would not want to spend some time with these types of women, anything that a man will do will always be negative to them. They can never be pleased by a man.

2. The material girl. She is just after the money! These types of women are high maintenance. They not just expect, but often demand that a man should finance all her luxuries in life. To her, the man has the responsibility to pay for dinners, drinks, trips, jewelry, flowers etc. while she absolutely feels compulsion or guilt to reciprocate.

Simply put, she is a prostitute in disguise. She is a greedy person, having no perception of the feelings of others and her only concern is achieving and obtaining things that she wants. Never be fooled; some appear to be really nice at first, until they know that you would do anything for them. Then the asking for material things starts!

3. The hopeless romantic. These women live inside a perfect world of romance in novels, where love and relationships are perfect and her night and shining armor will always come and they will live happily ever after.

She has always been pampered by her and considered a "princess," thus have no idea that what the real life is. She will expect the man to take care of her constantly and that all her wishes be given; if not, she can turn out to be a screaming nag.

4. The angry girl. Similar to the feminist, she actually hates men. They often look down on men accounting a long list of all the injustice and transgressions of every guy that they shared a relationship with. To her, all men are "creeps", "pigs." and jerks. These women have boiling rage at men that can, at any given moment explode.

5. The insecure Miss. They will seem to be very pleasant, loving and accommodating at first, treating men very well. Later, when all her innermost insecurities go up the surface, she can be annoyingly calling the man she is dating at least ten times a day, asking where are you, or that she just missed your voice.

This woman demands frequent and persistent reassurance that you love her and you find her attractive; because of this insecurity, she worries continuously about her hair, make up, clothes etc. She can be clingy, needing constant attention and insistently torments you with her thoughts that you will leave her soon if you find someone better.

6. The abstract or elusive type. She is romantic but with a mysteriously dark side. She has been hurt in past relationships and has not gone over it. These bad experiences drive her to subconsciously stay way from or damage her new relationship.

She will be very frustrating to deal with, as at first, she will show a lot of interest with the man, however runs away very quickly; she will repeat this cycle again and again. She will date and flirt with the man, but will insist that they both remain as friends.

7. The desperate Miss. She is desperate to get married. She does not even choose to know the man; she just wants to trap him and bring him to the nearest altar!

8. The controlling type. She can be very nasty in a very subtle way, but when given the opportunity, will direct each phase of a mans life. She will always have a say as to what the man wears, where must the man go, who should the man talk to, who can a man have as friends, what a man can and can not eat; as in everything! The man can not insist on his own rights or else, there will be no sex, a lot of crying, screaming, pouting and everything just so the man will give in.

To all men, careful!